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As a lifelong entrepreneur, I know firsthand the ups and downs of running a successful business. I’ve run several marketing companies, each catering to different national markets, as well as co-run a financial investment firm and several lucrative mobile app businesses. Although it hasn’t always been perfect, I don’t regret the ups and downs for a second – all of the learning experiences have made me the leader I am today.

It can be both exhilarating and challenging, but serial entrepreneurship is the perfect fit for me. In truth, not everyone is cut out to be the head of a business. There are certainly specific characteristics and components that constitute effective leadership. In this article, I will discuss some of the elements of what makes a great business leader.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make A Great Leader

Empathy

One of the most important aspects of being a great leader is being empathetic. Empathy is so important, but so often it’s not something that’s encouraged in the corporate world. Yet being empathetic is crucial for good leadership. When a business owner shows empathy towards his employees, he in turn earns the respect of his team members. It allows a leader to be authentic about their experiences and connect with employees on a human level.

Empathy allows you to retain top talent. If you’re a jerk or unable to respond empathetically to your employees’ concerns or sensitivities, they’re destined to leave. In my opinion, you simply cannot grow a business with high turnover.

A clearly defined vision

Another essential ingredient that makes a great leader is having a clearly defined vision for the organization. Likewise, the ability to articulate the long-term and short-term goals of the organization is equally important. When team members clearly understand the company’s vision and purpose, that clarity inspires trust and a sense of camaraderie.

Enthusiasm

Being enthusiastic is of paramount importance for any leader. Leading with enthusiasm and having the ability to motivate team members towards a common goal is crucial. Enthusiasm is contagious and permeates an entire organization.

Endurance

As entrepreneurs, we know that every business has both successes and failures. In any business, some things go well and some things go wrong. The way a leader handles failure is truly demonstrative in character. It is essential to learn endurance for those times when something goes wrong or a goal is not achieved as planned.

More importantly, it sets the tone for how the rest of the organization handles failure. Of course, accountability and responsibility are necessary. The best approach to failure is to be pragmatic with your team, to access together and come up with concrete solutions that will lead to improvements.

Related: 7 Traits All Great Business Leaders Share

Effectively manage change

One of the most difficult situations for any leader is change. Having the ability to effectively manage change in an organization is vital for a great leader. Regardless of what caused the change, a leader must approach the situation from a constructive point of view with the utmost professionalism.

Embrace learning

As business owners, we need to embrace learning for several reasons. A great business leader understands that knowledge is essential to staying abreast of industry changes and innovations, as well as improving personal skills. Also, don’t be afraid to improve your skills with more formal training to some degree.

Personally, I took language courses with Lingoda and iTalki, while taking technology courses on Udemy and Hubspot Academy in order to continue my training throughout my career.

Foster high performing team members

A great business leader understands that a company’s most important asset is its employees. Assembling a group of talented and skilled individuals who excel as team members will dramatically improve the success of a business. In addition, it is essential to give the most successful team members a level of autonomy to do their job. A great leader understands that once a stellar team has been assembled, it’s all about fostering their potential.

Constantly evolving

As human beings, we are constantly evolving. Therefore, having a growth mindset with a willingness to constantly evolve is another important component that makes a great leader. Assessing personal strengths and weaknesses is essential for any leader. Subsequently, self-awareness provides insight into which areas need improvement.

Related: 3 Must-Have Attributes That Make Great Business Leadership

Although there are different styles of leadership in the business world, there are certainly specific elements and characteristics in a person that constitute a great leader. Most importantly, a great leader understands the benefits of continuous professional and personal development.